Dark Ages Church

Saint Augustine arrived in Britian AD 597 to revitalise Christianity.  For the next four hundred years, crudely constructed churches like this one appear across the island.

Friar Tuck in a Dark Ages Anglosaxon church

A humble friar takes a stroll around the Saxon minster at sunset.

“But Curis,” I hear you cry, “Friars didn’t exist until centuries after the Dark Ages ended.  Your inclusion of Friar Tuck in the photograph above is highly anachronistic.”  Well, look carefully and you’ll see Doctor Who is also in the photo to sweep your anachronism away.  It’s a unique concept for a Doctor Who episode – transporting a medieval friar back a few centuries and committing all sorts of theological faux pas in the Dark Age monastic communities.  And by “unique” I mean “rubbish”.

Dark Ages Church front

Obscure early Warhammer druid shown for scale, and perhaps further anachronisms. 

This church was a Salute 2017 purchase from 1st Corps.  It’s five hunks of resin that combine to form a solid-looking and (deliberately) wonky building.  There’s a lot of mdf terrain on the market, but resin’s ease of assembly and feel of structural heft can’t be beaten.  I particularly like the roof being half tiles and half thatch – suggesting the builders couldn’t loot enough tiles from derelict Roman structures.  Another nice touch is the plaster crumbling from the exterior to reveal the non-ashlar masonry typical of churches built before the Norman Conquest.

Dark Ages Church back

As a special birthday treat AJ took me to Butt Road – the site of a similarly laid out church built AD 320–340.  You can see the curved apse in the left of the photo below and the (modern) blocks of oak marking the position of the church’s internal posts.

Curis at the Butt Road Sub-Roman church

Also enjoying the Late Roman church – a local Essexman passed out drunk on cans of cider.

My model church has those internal wooden posts as part of the interior detail too.  You might remember seeing them already on this blog as I’ve been cheeky and used the half-painted interior as backdrops for Chaos Thugs and Friar Tuck.

As a pleasing touch, you can take the two portici off the side of the church and combine them into a thatched cottage.  This will come in useful for that inevitable point when my regular opponents despair at me trotting out the church for its seventeenth game in a row.

Dark Ages thatched squat

“Fussake Curis, we’re playing a 6mm science fiction and this cottage is no better than that bloody church.”

Disappointingly, both doors on the kit are have entirely smooth and detail-free planks, which I had to paint the wooden texture onto.  It seems at odds with the love and care the sculptor put into the tiles and thatch to skimp on the doors.  A minor flaw.

Such a big piece of terrain is a pain to photograph.  In the end I couldn’t resist sticking some goggly eyes on it.

Dark Age church with goggle eyes

Too late, the true meaning of Pope Benedict’s final statement becomes clear.  “The church is alive.”

I want to push the modelling on the church further with:

  • Adjacent burial ground with Renedra’s plastic gravestones
  • Interior detailing, such as an altar, and benches for the clergy
  • A base for the piece, to get rid of the awkward grassy lip
  • A selection of Dark Age civilians and monks.

But the piece is finished enough for Dark Age and Early Medieval gaming.


Curis has painted for Games Workshop, Forge World, Warlord Games, Mantic Games, Avatars of War, Wargames Foundry, Studio McVey and many others. He's won at Golden Demon and Salute. He publishes monthly painting tutorials on Patreon.

10 thoughts on “Dark Ages Church

  • December 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Curis the paint work, and photos are fabulous. I’m really needing to up my photo game to keep up. ;)

    I really like the half roof as well. It definitely adds a bit of fun narrative. It could also lead to scenarios where more tiles and things for the church need to be freed from danish squatters.

    The googly eye’s definitely push it over the top, so I can totally get behind that. LOL

    • December 14, 2017 at 11:51 am

      The world needs more scenarios centred around Danish squatters.

  • December 12, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Fantastic work, I love the whole set. But beware, the eyes of the church are set on you…

    • December 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

      It’s like an ecclesiastical character from Thomas the Tank Engine.

  • December 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Very nice indeed! Agreed about mdf vs resin.. even better is to scratch build, but who has the time!?

    • December 14, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Yes! The time it takes to build something versus the cost of buying them pre-fabricated doesn’t work out when you’re building whole towns.

  • December 14, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Crazily impressed by the scenery and lighting on the first shot there – reminds me very much of the kind of intense camera filters that they used on Robin of Sherwood, very Richard Carpenter.

    • December 14, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Thanks! They take ages to get right, I’ve got about thirty versions of the photo where it just looks like car brakelights are happening just off-camera.

    • December 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Thanks Davy!


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